Step 4: Narrow the field. As you examine each quote, go back online and read customer reviews of the company. If ratings matter to you, check rating companies like J.D. Power and A.M. Best. They can give you a good idea of what other customers have gone through when dealing with filing claims and customer service. Once you have looked over everything, narrow down your decisions. Eliminate one or more of your quotes.
Young drivers (those between the ages of 16 and 25) pay extraordinarily high auto insurance rates, with those aged 16-19 paying the most expensive premiums of all. Because of the risk presented by inexperienced drivers, teens pay more than three times the national average for car insurance. In Virginia, the average teen driver pays $3,747 — approximately $1,200 less than the national teen driver average, but more than three times as much as an older driver in Virginia.
On average, an at-fault property damage accident with a claims payout exceeding $2,000 will raise your premium by an average of $726 per year. Over three years, that adds up to $2,178! If you’re thinking of filing a claim, consider the overall cost of the claim versus what the claim would cost to pay out of pocket. Compare this $2,178 penalty — plus your deductible — to the out-of-pocket expense. While this is nice information to know before filing a claim, it won’t help if you’ve already filed a claim. If you have an at-fault accident on your insurance history, consider Nationwide or Farmers.
Insurance companies place a lot of weight on your credit score as they see it as a highly accurate way to determine risk. Studies by the Federal Trade Commission have shown that drivers with low credit scores not only file more claims than drivers with higher credit scores, but the actual dollar amount is greater than higher scoring drivers. Thus, they’re cheaper clients. On average, moving from one credit tier to the next among our selected insurers saves you an average of $344 a year.
It's hard to say. You might see rates change as you age, but they don't always go down, so much as they level out or increase at a lower rate. (Remember, the rules of inflation are in effect.) And that assumes you don't incur any red marks on your driving record. As for a change in marital status, you generally have to contact your insurer to get a rate decrease — and if your spouse has a less-than-stellar driving record, well, again, you mind wind up paying more.
Many companies advertise free auto insurance quotes. Any car insurance quote you receive is and should be completely free. Insurance companies want to incentivize you to purchase a car insurance policy from them, so they’re not going to charge you for an upfront assessment (the quote). When shopping around for insurance, remember you can find free car insurance quotes from a variety of sources.

In most states, a DUI is the most costly violation you can receive. Moreover, in states like California, it will stay on your insurance record for 10 years! Based on our analysis of the most popular car insurance companies, this would set you back an average of $12,491 in insurance rate increases during that 10-year period. To limit your costs, do your due diligence and shop around: State Farm and Liberty Mutual are the cheapest insurance options after a DUI — so consider starting there.
Disclaimer: NerdWallet strives to keep its information accurate and up to date. This information may be different than what you see when you visit a financial institution, service provider or specific product’s site. All financial products, shopping products and services are presented without warranty. When evaluating offers, please review the financial institution’s Terms and Conditions. Pre-qualified offers are not binding. If you find discrepancies with your credit score or information from your credit report, please contact TransUnion® directly.
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